The DfE have recently reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.” The government set out its definition of British values in the 2011 Prevent Strategy, and these values have been reiterated by the Prime Minister. At St Mary’s, we reinforce these regularly through our own core Values Education and in the following ways:
Democracy is common within the school. Children have the opportunity to have their voices heard through our School Council and questionnaires. Elections for School Council representatives are undertaken in each class. Children are always able to voice their opinions and we aim to foster an environment where children feel safe to disagree with each other and respect other’s points of view.
The Rule of Law
The importance of Laws, whether they be those that govern the class, the school, or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout regular school days, as well as when dealing with behaviour and through school assemblies. Children are taught the value and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from authorities such as the Police; Fire Service; etc. are regular parts of our calendar and help reinforce this message.
Within school, children are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment. As a school, we provide boundaries for our children to make choices safely, through the provision of a secure environment and an empowering education. Children are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely, for example through our E-Safety and PSHE lessons. Whether it is through how they express themselves, making friendships, participation in our numerous extra – curricular clubs and opportunities, children are given the freedom to make choices.
Part of our school ethos and behaviour policy has revolved around our Values such as ‘Respect’, and children have been part of discussions and assemblies related to what this means and how it is shown. The school promotes respect for others and this is reiterated through our classroom and learning rules, as well as our behaviour policy.
Tolerance of those of Different Faiths and Beliefs
This is achieved through enhancing children’s understanding of their place in a culturally diverse society and by giving them opportunities to experience such diversity. Assemblies and discussions involving prejudices and prejudice – based bullying have been followed and supported by learning in RE and PSHE. Members of different faiths or religions are encouraged to share their knowledge to enhance learning within classes and the school.